Monthly archives for July, 2009

Solana Beach Tri 2009

On July 26th I completed my third triathlon, a local event about half an hour away from home in Solana Beach at Fletcher Cove. I call it shark cove because a triathlete was eaten by a shark there last year. It’s a flat-course sprint (1/4-mi swim, 9-mi bike, 3-mi run), which means all out mayhem. Given my current speeds, finishing in under one hour and making the podium in this race would require an out-of-this-world speed that I have not yet attained.

Update: My predictions for getting on the podium were quite a ways off, but the video is pretty cool anyways! Thanks to my friend, Michael Shedd of CurrentDose for filming and editing.

My official results were: Swim (includes T1) = 11:29, Bike (includes T2) = 27:30, Run = 23:31, Overall = 1:02:30. It was good enough for 15th in my AG (out of 64) and 210th overall (out of 1071).

According to my HRM, my T1 time was about 3 minutes, which means I completed the swim between 8 and 9 minutes, even with the huge waves! My T2 time was also about 3 minutes, which means I completed the bike segment in about 24 minutes. Right around my goal time, even though I was exhausted!

The Good:

  • Slept for over five hours the night before the race! Thank you Benadryl
  • One of the first athletes to arrive at the transition area – prime spot @ the end of the Breakaway Training VIP rack
  • No coffee before the race + full hydration (32 ounces) in the morning = five trips to the bathroom
  • No major cramps during the race
  • Did not panic during the start of the swim when there were huge waves
  • Successfully transitioned on / off bike with shoes clipped

Things to Work On:

  • Being more aggressive in the ocean, even when there is active surf
  • Faster getting into shoes while pedaling out of T1
  • Keeping arm motion moving forward, not side-to-side while running when tired
  • Looking over my shoulder while approaching the finish
  • Going like Cavendish to the finish line no matter how tired

The Ugly:

  • Unsportsmanlike conduct #1: Some jerk, not part of Breakaway Training, put his bike in between my handlebars, and ignored me when I said: “I don’t think that’s going to work.”
  • Unsportsmanlike conduct #2: At the end of the bike segment, Bib #2318 cut me off at the dismount line by abruptly stopping his bike directly in front of me when there was plenty of room for him to dismount on my right.


In and Out of Transition


Tri shoes on bike for T1

Not a long post here. Just wanted to say I’m pretty proud of myself for learning how to get in and out of my tri shoes with the shoes still on the bike. I had a successful practice time today doing both. It’s not the fastest or the prettiest, but I’m definitely going to start the bike route with my shoes on the bike for next weekend’s race.

As I started this transition practice, I was kinda scared, but after you actually start pedaling on top of the shoes, it’s actually not that difficult to slip your feet right into the shoe as you ride. I’m going to practice again next weekend before the race, but with rubber bands to hold the shoes in place. The rubber bands break off once you begin pedaling.

Solana Beach Tri Pre-race

A lot people from Breakaway are heading out to Vineman 70.3 this weekend, which got me thinking about finalizing my goals for my next race at the end of July, the Solana Beach Triathlon. It will be my first sprint. Technically, it’s probably my second sprint since my very first ever tri was the Super Sprint last May. This one is a tad longer in distance: 0.25-mi swim (0.4K), 9-mi bike (14.5K), and 3-mi run (4.8K).

After looking at the 2008 results in my age group for this race, the podium times are in the following ranges: swim = 7-9 min, bike = 25 min, run = 18-19 min, overall = 50-52 min. The transition times are not broken out, but are sandwiched into the swim and bike times. I’m thinking I should just go all out for all three legs in this sprint with maybe a little conservation on the swim since it is my weakest leg.


Swim – Most likely my fastest swim time for a quarter mile would be just about 7 minutes, so with transition I would like to get on to the bike segment in under 9 minutes.

Bike – For the bike leg I think the course is flat, so I’d like to go at least 24 mph, which is about 22.5 minutes. So let’s say I do it in under 24 minutes.

Run – By the time I get to the run, I know I’ll be tired, but I’d like to run at least 8 mph. So that means I should shoot for a 24-min run.

Overall – 57 minutes. I guess I’ll be happy if I finish the race in under an hour. But I’d have to have a superhuman swim and run to shave 10 minutes off to get my overall time down to 50 minutes.

Definitely, I’m going to be thinking about this race a lot more in the next two weeks. Time for some good visualization and daydreaming!

The 7-min Barrier

I’ve been attending the Breakaway Tuesday night turbo spin class each week. As a veteran “spinner” at the gym, I can say that the turbo class put on by Breakaway is by far tougher than any spin class I have ever taken in the gym. It consists of race-pace or sprint intervals for about 45 minutes followed by a short run. In tri-language, that’s called a “brick”. Ever since my running debacle at my last race, I’ve been paying closer attention to my effort levels when I run. I think I’ve made a breakthrough in the last couple of run workouts. For whatever reason, I found an increased determination to push myself to sustain a high cadence while running, especially after the spin class. Typically, in my last two races, I’ve felt really tired after my bike segment, and then the run is a huge struggle. So to work on that endurance, I decided to push myself on my runs even more, especially if the runs occur after a bike ride.

My fastest race pace to date has been 7:05, which was when I set my 5K PR at the Carlsbad 5000 last April. This past Tuesday, I ran three miles after the turbo spin in 20:55, breaking the 7-min barrier for 6:59. And even though I felt out of breath after the run, I think I did a decent job of maintaining a consistent, high-rate cadence. Because of this recent breakthrough, I believe I can achieve a new Half Marathon PR in my upcoming race in August. I’d like to finish the AFC Half in 1:40 or better. I understand there are hills towards the end of the course. In the event that I don’t beat 1:40, I plan to beat that time in the Silver Strand Half in November because it’s a flat, point-to-point course.

Riding for Team Tuma

Last week I learned that the wife of a very close friend has ** cancer **. Even though I haven’t been a big part of Dennis and Vivien’s lives since my college days with Dennis, I feel the weight of this sad news very deeply. Dennis is more than a brother to me. He played a big part of my life while I was at UCLA, helping me grow in my new faith as a Christian. For those short years at UCLA over 20 years ago I learned a lot from Dennis about life and living it as a Christian. Needless to say, Dennis is one of two mentors in my life; he’s more like a dad and brother than a friend.

So I grieve with Dennis and Vivien today as I have learned that her cancer is in Stage 4.

  • Follow their journey.
  • Please pray for healing and comfort for Vivien, Dennis, and their family of six kids.
  • Join my LIVESTRONG team and donate to a great cause. Any amount is worthy for helping to find a cure.

In honor of Vivien for the rest of the summer triathlon season, I am dedicating all my hours of training, all my races, and the LIVESTRONG Challenge in October to Team Tuma. I hope to meet my fundraising goals for the ride as well as raise some additional funds to get a special jersey designed for Team Tuma.

BT Elfin Ride

With the launch of this web site earlier this morning, this had shaped up to be a late night going to bed at 1:30 AM, but I was pretty excited to try the Breakaway Training Saturday ride for the second time, even with only five hours or so of sleep. Armed this time with the course’s turn-by-turn directions mapped on my Garmin 705 GPS I knew that I would not be getting lost this time.

According to Coach Luke, it was supposed to be a slower, easier ride this morning, but of course, I didn’t believe that. Starting in the Vons parking lot in La Jolla, the first 20 miles of the course are relatively flat, followed by a steep climb up the way to Rancho Santa Fe Road. It then turns into Elfin Forest into Escondido and heads back to the coast via Del Dios Highway. The way back to La Jolla culmintates up “the hill” on Torrey Pines Road, so basically this course is 40 miles of mostly rolling hills. It’s a tough ride.

When I rode it for the first time last weekend, I got dropped at the start of the first and steepest climb. By the time I made it up to Rancho Santa Fe, the rest of the fast group (mostly professional triathletes) were long gone. Then I forgot the road that you take to get to the Elfin Forest, and so I was lost for awhile. I ended up finishing the ride by myself. Thankfully, I used my iPhone to look up the ride on the Breakaway web site.

This time around my goal was to hang with the regular folks and not get lost while the pros do their thing. I’m happy to report that for the first half, I kept up with the humans, even on the climbs. At the start of the climbing, I took off with the pros. Coach Felipe instructed Chris not to stand up on the climbs, which would “slow” the pace down. The funny thing though is that Chris’ sitting down pace is faster than my pace standing up and attacking. So the pros took off and I never saw them after that.

With the pros gone, I focused on my main climbing goal for the ride, and attacked the hill with the intent of not getting dropped among the regular folks. I made it up the first climb successfully without getting dropped at Rancho Santa Fe, that is, I could still see most of my group ahead of me in my sights. Fortunately, before Elfin Forest, there is a speedy downhill before the steep climb up San Elijo.  And as we entered the Elfin Forest, I was near the head of the “regular” pack. In fact, of the regular folks, I arrived first at the regroup stop after leaving the Elfin Forest.I would have arrived second, but Eric had to take a pit stop behind one of the Elfin trees :) which allowed me to speed ahead. At the regroup at this small Assembly of God church, I guess it’s a rite of passage for cyclists to go to the bathroom behind the church office. I don’t think that’s very nice and I’m not sure if I’ll be doing that again on the next ride. I would prefer that we stop at the Chevron gas station prior to entering the Elfin Forest, but I think people want to keep riding through the Elfin Forest to the stop at the church because the church marks the halfway point of the course.

In any case after the regroup, I remembered that my bike ride this week was supposed to be a “recovery” ride after last weekend’s race in Zone 2. So I guess attacking the rolling hills was not part of this week’s training plan. For the second half of the ride, I rode slower in Zone 2 and didn’t attack for the remainder of the course. Overall, I was pleased with my performance on the first half of the ride, and still carried out my training plan of riding in the slower Zone 2 for the rest of the ride.

On another note, I’m trying this electronic log ( to record all my workouts (weights, swim, bike, and run). It’s free for 15 days, and then I’ll decide if I want to continue before I pay for the subscription. So far, I like it, especially the fact that you can record all the workouts in one spot. Currently, I record my weightlifting on a paperback log and my runs on Running Ahead ( I haven’t recorded my swims or bike rides until now. So we’ll see how I like it in a couple of weeks.

Site Launch

It’s finally here! My designer/developer has finished the new site, and it has been launched on Independence Day, July 4th, 2009. Enjoy!

SDIT 2009

The San Diego International Triathlon, held on June 28, 2009, was my second race in triathlon and my first tri in the quasi-Olympic distance. This race was a 1 K (0.9-mile) swim, 30 K (18.64-mile) bike, and 10 K (6.2-mile) run. I’ll start off by reviewing my four goals for the race as I mentioned in my pre-race post:

  1. Swim 1K in 25 minutes or less.
  2. Bike 30K in 50 minutes or less.
  3. Run 10K in under 50 minutes.
  4. Finish the race in under two hours.

My official results were: Swim = 19:09, T1 = 4:09, Bike = 48:48, T2 = 1:59, Run = 52:31, Overall = 2:06:36.

My overall feeling about my performance is mixed. I am very surprised about my swim time being well under 25 minutes. Props to my new coach, Luke Walton, for the swim programs he tortures me with. So in that sense, I feel very good about one thing in the race. But on the other hand, I’m disappointed in myself for not finishing this race in under two hours. I’m disappointed that my body let me down with cramps in both calves after my swim and throughout the rest of the race. And I’m disappointed in my mental outlook that I had before the race as well as during my run. I’ll explain as I report out on the race.